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Written by: Sam Fragoso on June 13, 2012

June 13, 2012 | 25 comments | Featured

Most actors and actresses neither have the ambition, nor the capability to stand behind the camera and craft their own story. Many have attempted, few have succeeded.

Two of the biggest names in Hollywood, however, have proved themselves to be competent filmmakers with great artistic potential. Each has starred in a plethora of films – from the action crazed blockbusters to the soapbox romances to the inspirational humdrum stories.

And while one may be dramatically more mentally unstable than the other, I suspect most of us are glad to have them both around making and acting in movies.

Before our debate begins, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for nominating this feature for a LAMMIE award. If you’re a member of the LAMB and have remained to vote, please do so. The Duke & The Movies banner on the right hand side of the site links to the voting polls.

Battle of Directors

Four example films from Mel Gibson:



The Man Without A Face

Passion of Christ


Four example films from George Clooney:

Goodnight and Good Luck


Ides of March

Confessions of A Dangerous Mind

My selection: Although each actor is a famed Hollywood movie star, the two virtually share zero stylistic similarities in their directing styles. Gibson goes for the sweeping epic approach, and Clooney goes for the poignant outlooks on American politics. The former is more grand and visually mesmerizing, while the other is more intimate and thoughtful. Personally, I’d choose Clooney. Braveheart has waned in quality over time. Passion of Christ was always nonsensical garbage. Both Ides of March and Goodnight and Good Luck were dark, chilling, and engrossing forays into the corruption behind democracy and American diplomacy.

Drop a line below sharing which actor turned filmmaker you prefer.

Let the conversation begin.


There are 25 comments for this post.

  1. Nikhat on June 13, 2012 8:07 am

    I have only seen Braveheart from Gibson, but that was the reason why I never bother to watch his other films. I hate it with a passion.

    I have seen all of Clooney’s and though I feel that they are too American for me at times, I really liked Good Night and Good Luck- visually and story-wise. His other films are pretty good too, so my vote goes to him :)

  2. sati on June 13, 2012 8:39 am

    I prefer Clooney, as much as I love Braveheart all of Clooney’s films are good except for Leatherhreads, and Ides of march is fantastic. So it’s 1 to 1 + 2 good movies.

  3. Dan Heaton on June 13, 2012 12:22 pm

    I have to go with Clooney because of Good Night and Good Luck, which I love. Gibson has some talent as a director, but I don’t find myself revisiting his films after watching them.

  4. Sam Fragoso on June 13, 2012 12:30 pm

    I know of very few people who outright love Good Night and Good Luck …. I know Ryan McNeil also loves the film with a passion.

  5. Simon on June 13, 2012 2:16 pm

    I haven’t seen ANY Clooney-directed films. Mental.

    And Temptation of Christ was Scorsese – Passion of the Christ was Gibson. Easy mistake to make!

    I think Gibson is a great director and I love APOCALYPTO and PASSION. Its a shame he can’t work in Hollywood anymore …

  6. Sam Fragoso on June 13, 2012 2:30 pm

    Thank you for the correction Simon. I think he can still work in Hollywood, just not as much as he would’ve liked to.

    Put I wouldn’t consider him completely blacklisted.

  7. Steven Flores on June 13, 2012 2:31 pm

    Hmm… the only film of Clooney’s I haven’t seen is Good Night, and Good Luck though I really did like The Ides of March and I thought Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was alright. The Leatherheads was OK…

    I’m going to go with Mel Gibson although I think The Passion of the Christ is a very overrated film and The Man Without a Face an underrated one. Braveheart is still awesome while Apocaplypto is a good action film.

    I still love Mel Gibson!

  8. Sam Fragoso on June 13, 2012 2:55 pm

    Thank you Steven! Thank you! I’m glad someone loves Mel Gibson.

  9. SDG on June 13, 2012 3:07 pm

    Ides of March, Good Night and Good Luck – awesome. Confessions of Dangerous mind wasn’t that bad either. For Mel Gibson, I do not have anything against Apocalypto, but I will not defend it either and like you said, Braveheart has waned over time. So, Clooney !!

  10. Sam Fragoso on June 13, 2012 3:52 pm

    I figured this matchup to be a bit closer. But I’m starting to get the feeling people are putting their personal vendettas against Gibson’s personal life into their decision.

  11. ruth on June 13, 2012 7:23 pm

    I’ve only seen ‘Ides of March’ from Clooney so I’d have to go with Gibson for his sheer bravery to create a film like The Passion of the Christ in a dead language. But I truly appreciate that film despite its brutal violence and it touched me to the core, even though I haven’t been able to see it again. Braveheart was a well-made, rousing film and I’ve also heard my colleague praising Apocalypto. So regardless of his personal life, I think he’s one heck of a talented filmmaker.

  12. Sam Fragoso on June 14, 2012 12:41 am

    He does have some guts to make a movie of that ambition in subject matter. I see your point of view Ruth.

  13. Pete on June 14, 2012 3:17 am

    Apocalypto is my favourite of all the films you listed but overall Clooney. Ides of March was extremely promising.

  14. Sam Fragoso on June 15, 2012 8:48 pm

    I haven’t seen Apocalypto, but I’ve heard it’s a rather polarizing film. And Ides does show a whole lot of promise.

  15. Aaron on June 16, 2012 6:53 pm

    Clooney by a long shot, but I’m not at all impressed with any of his films.

  16. Sam Fragoso on June 16, 2012 8:30 pm

    Have you taken a liking to any of his films?

  17. Andy Buckle on June 18, 2012 10:31 pm

    I don’t like any of Gibson’s films (hated Apocalypto), so Clooney for me. Goodnight and Good Luck and The Ides of March were excellent.

  18. Sam Fragoso on June 18, 2012 11:49 pm

    Did Ides make it into your top 30 last year?

  19. Andrew on June 19, 2012 8:40 am

    I’m willing to separate the artist from the person– or else I’d never be able to live with liking H.P. Lovecraft while being married to a Jewish woman– but it’s hard for Gibson to compete with Clooney. I will take all but Leatherheads over everything on the Gibson list; Gibson’s maybe more ambitious and his vision has grander scope, but I really only consider Apocalypto to be of a consistent, high quality out of all of those movies. (Not that I don’t like Braveheart, it’s just uneven.)

  20. Sam Fragoso on June 19, 2012 8:42 am

    I’m glad you can separate Church and State. Other have a bit of difficulty doing so.

  21. Alex Withrow on June 19, 2012 10:06 am

    Gibson has that… passion, but I gotta go with Clooney here. Good Night and Confessions are two great films. Really interesting matchup.

  22. Sam Fragoso on June 19, 2012 2:43 pm

    I haven’t seen “Confessions”, but you have me intrigued. Have you written about it?

  23. Alex Withrow on June 20, 2012 11:18 am

    No I haven’t, just touched on it for my Sam Rockwell In Character write-up. It is really really good. And funny as hell.

  24. Andy Buckle on June 21, 2012 5:06 pm

    Yeah Ides made by Top 30. Actually, after a third viewing on DVD I squeezed it into my Top 20. Its very good.

  25. Andymovieman on November 9, 2012 9:49 am

    mel because he’s not up obama’s ass like clooney. mel did a lot of good movies even in the 80s when clooney was busy being a nobody, a gaijin, a loser. to hear that clooney is the best really sickens me. mel is the best. if mel and george did a movie together where mel is the good guy and clooney is the bad guy, i would root for mel. mel is tougher, clooney is a pussy.

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